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August Ascends / August Wanes

by Richard Paez


August Ascends


“Where do the rivers go?”

We ask,
yet August ascends:
no questions, no –
no answers will stand
in Her way.

~

At the edge of the swamp we stood,
waterlogged, woven-switch-people,
insomniac lovers,
afraid of insects
of the reptiles we'd become.

We dreamt of waking,
prayed for Autumn
and the underwater things
sunshine reveals:

Those shapeless things
we followed,
that followed us –
underwater shadows,
surface ripples,
fungus and chitin.

~

We dreamt, overcast.

Levees and breakwaters:
how long could they hold?

Our surface tensions,
strained membranes
encasing August's face;
yet still we played
survival of the quickest
in this frozen, silent place.

~

August ascends,
yet Her children
we'll always be:

Landlocked and submerged.



August Wanes


August wanes (but
some things never change):

The cicadas' call,
more cascade than chorus,
crests over gutters swollen
with July's downpour:

Our springtime submerged
with this detritus turned deluge –
these remainders made rivers,
brimming over turgid trenches –
Summer's distended bellies
starving for Autumn.

~

August wanes (but
the mosquitoes still swarm.

Impossible to stave
and never satiated:
these little things
subject only to the wind).

~

We stood there
at the threshold of the storm
watched August ascend.

We raised our arms
prayed to the rain
sunk in the swamp:

Here, in her belly,
is where life happens –

Here, in her belly
is where life tears free:

At the edge of the swamp,
here in her belly
we woven-switch-people stand
where no answers will
and the shapeless, underwater things
– more cascade than chorus,
our detritus turned deluge –
ascend,

And we:

We are little things
subject only to the wind.



09/02/2009

Author's Note: For the all the women who have given birth to me in August.


"...of the reptiles we'd become."
"We had" or "we would" -- it's both, it's each, and it's neither, it's up to you and it's up to me: visit the swamp, feel her arms surround you and her lips consume you, and then -- if you find your way out again -- then you can tell me your answer so that I can burn it like incense and learn how to dream (again).


Inspired, in part, by Ava Blue's August is not so cold cycle.


Posted on 09/02/2009
Copyright © 2019 Richard Paez

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Ava Blu on 09/03/09 at 01:04 AM

I'm quite honored to see my name in your Author's Note. The alliteration throughout was rather complimentary. Your ending was by far a favorite of mine; those last lines represent exactly what I could only hope was achieved in my August series, since I lacked the perfect words. Oh yeah, it is lovely to see a new poem from you.

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